Riverview boys, girls soccer teams back on track

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | 6:25 PM

Low numbers and covid concerns conspired to put a halt to the Riverview varsity boys and girls soccer seasons last fall.

At the time, though, boys coach Mickey Namey and girls coach Sean Abraham, along with athletic director Mario Rometo, sounded optimistic the teams would return to WPIAL play in 2021.

Those plans move forward with less than three weeks until the start of preseason practices.

“I am excited to report that we should have enough players for both boys and girls varsity teams, as well as a junior high coed team,” Rometo said Monday afternoon.

“Talking with the coaches, they said numbers are up. We are looking forward to competing this fall.

“Soccer has always been one of our prized programs here at Riverview, and to not have a team last year for the boys and the girls was kind of a shock. It was tough for the kids who were there and who wanted to play. It was tough for them to miss out on a year. I know there were other opportunities for them to go and play, train and continue to develop their skills, but there’s nothing like playing for your school.”

Players from both teams have gathered for conditioning and skill workouts throughout the past two months. Official preseason practices begin Aug. 16.

Despite the varsity teams not playing last fall, a coed middle school team played a nine-game schedule last year. Namey said he attended junior high games and practices and observed future talent for both teams.

Namey said the boys team will have close to 20 players on the varsity roster, with nine or 10 being freshman. None of them are seniors.

“We had about nine kids (last fall), and then once Riverview went online because of covid, we just started losing numbers and we just couldn’t build a team,” Namey said.

The 2019 boys team finished 7-8 overall, 6-6 in section play and made the WPIAL Class A playoffs.

“It’s nice to have this big group,” said junior Patrick Harvey, who, along with classmates Max Catanzaro and Jed Dreher, are holdovers from the 2019 team.

“We don’t have any seniors, but we have a lot of very strong freshmen. We’re working really hard to make the season the best we can.”

The hope is to have more than a dozen players on the girls roster.

Several talented younger players will be featured as the team looks to get back on the winning side of things after a 2019 season that saw the Raiders finish 1-13 overall and 1-9 in section play.

The Riverview girls last made the WPIAL playoffs in 2016.

Rising sophomore Lola Abraham, who plays for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy club team, was selected to train at a U.S. U16 National Team virtual camp in April.

A growing tradition the past several years has had the boys and girls teams host an evening doubleheader under the lights at Riverside Park.

The return of both teams means the return of the doubleheader Sept. 30. The girls take on Ligonier Valley at 6 p.m., with the boys facing Aquinas Academy at 8.

Both matchups are section contests.

The Riverview boys are aligned in Section 3-A with Aquinas, as well as rival Springdale and Winchester Thurston, Bishop Canevin, Carlynton and Eden Christian.

Winchester Thurston navigated its way through the 2020 season, with covid looking to throw curve balls at teams at every turn, to make it to the WPIAL Class 1A title game before falling to Greensburg Central Catholic.

Springdale advanced to the WPIAL semifinals, while Eden, Carlynton and Aquinas also were playoff qualifiers.

The Riverview girls will play in Section 1-A with Apollo-Ridge, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Ligonier Valley, Springdale and Serra Catholic.

GCC is the defending WPIAL girls Class 1A champion, and the Centurions made it to the PIAA title game in Hershey.

Springdale won a first-round game in 2020 before running into GCC in the quarterfinals.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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